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Palm Pre Dances Nicely with Linux - page 2

That Syncing Feeling

  • July 7, 2009
  • By Paul Ferrill

Taking photos with the Palm Pre's 3-megapixel camera is a breeze, and the LED flash makes it possible to get decent pictures even in low light. Syncing the photos on your Pre with a desktop application such as F-Spot on Ubuntu works flawlessly. In fact, Ubuntu will even offer to do that automatically for you every time you connect the Pre to your Linux desktop. It makes the same offer for music files as well, using Rhythmbox or whichever application you have set as the default music player.

Browsing Photos With F-Spot
Browsing Photos With F-Spot

 

All pictures are stored in the typical DCIM directory and are visible using a file browser such as Nautilus under Ubuntu. You can transfer the photos off manually using the same method and delete the ones you don't want to keep. Other directories on the Pre include ringtones and wallpapers. You can create your own ringtones with an audio editor such as Audacity and copy them to the ringtones directory for later use. Wallpaper images need to be 320 pixels wide by 480 pixels high to fit the screen.

Grab a screen shot of the Pre's primary screen by holding down the Shift key, Orange function key and the P key. This places a copy of the screen in JPEG format in the screencaptures directory. These are easily accessible with the Pre connected in USB mode.

Gnome Music Player
Gnome Music Player

 

Application Development

Developing for the Palm Pre at this point in time requires admission to the Palm SDK early access program. The basics of application development will include using HTML and Javascript with the addition of a

special framework called Mojo. Palm has promised to open the doors wide open to their developer program by the end of summer.

Current versions of the Palm Pre SDK require either a Windows-based machine or a Mac for the various pieces to run. Sun's Virtualbox tool is used to host the emulator, and Apple's Safari is required for the HTML engine. Eclipse is the most logical choice for Javascript development, and it runs just fine on essentially every Linux distribution. It remains to be seen if Palm will release the SDK for Linux in a future version.

Bottom Line

Overall, the experience of managing your media files on the Palm Pre from Linux is not that bad for a version 1 product. There are workarounds for any issues, and Linux offers a great platform for converting all those WMA audio files you have lying around on your old Windows machine. A quick Google search for Lame and other Linux audio conversion tools will save you lots of time and money.

 

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